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Andy Burnham: Expand MURs to boost pharmacy's role in patient care

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham says pharmacy will have a "bigger role to play" under a Labour government

Labour's shadow health secretary says pharmacy will have a "bigger role to play" under a Labour government, and says the party's health strategy provides an “opportunity” for community pharmacy

EXCLUSIVE

Labour's shadow health secretary has revealed ambitions to expand medicine use reviews (MURs) and give pharmacy a bigger role in monitoring patients' conditions, in an exclusive interview with C+D.


Labour leader Ed Miliband's promise to inject an extra £2.5 billion into the NHS was an "opportunity" for community pharmacy, Mr Burnham told C+D at the party conference on Tuesday (September 23).


Mr Burnham did not refer to the sector in his own conference speech, but insisted to C+D that there would be a "bigger role to play" for pharmacy under a Labour government. The party's plan to "swing the pendulum away from the hospital and towards the community" would provide an incentive to fund "local, public-facing" services, he said.


Mr Burnham said he was "open-minded" about pharmacy's role and was "particularly keen" to support patients on prescription medicines by expanding the MUR service. "We've had a good discussion with the sector and want them properly involved in this," he stressed.


Pharmacy could be "more active" in helping to get people off long-term medications by monitoring them on a "day-to-day" basis, Mr Burnham added.


Mr Burnham spoke to C+D the day before his speech, in which the shadow health secretary laid out Labour's 10-year plan for the NHS. If his party came to power, it would ensure people with long-term conditions were treated by a GP-led team of healthcare professionals who would create a personalised care plan and treat patients in their own home, Mr Burnham told the conference.


Pharmacist Khalid Ahmed, who attended the conference, said Burnham's speech had been a "waste of time" and he was considering cancelling his Labour party membership.


"He talked about health and social care but not about pharmacy. If [pharmacists] are attending on our own time and expense, then we have a passion for the NHS," he told C+D.


At the conference, Mr Miliband vowed that his party would "transform" the NHS by deploying an extra 8,000 GPs, 20,000 nurses and 5,000 care workers. Labour would pay for the extra staff with a £2.5bn "time to care fund", raised by taxes on tobacco companies and homes worth £2m or more, he said.


Last year, Mr Burnham attended a roundtable discussion with pharmacy representatives in which he challenged the sector to play a greater role in preventative care.



Do you think pharmacy would play a bigger role under a Labour government?

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15 Comments

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Believe in pink elephants before you believe Andy Burnham

M Yang, Community pharmacist

Like a lot of politicians, Mr Burnham may have good intentions but like a lot of politicians he's never come face to face with the way pharmacy operates these days: ever declining remuneration, poor working conditions, lack of strong representation.

I agree that a lot of what they come up with is a fugazzi, or too vague. As professionals, I think we should be making a collective effort to bring our case to politicians. Making comments about Mr Burnham and Labour may be fun and lets off a bit of steam, but it won't get us anywhere. Forgetting the big mutliples for a moment, we as individuals within this profession should be drafting some sort of formal document to Mr Burnham, an outline of what the real everyday pharmacist would like to see happen.

M Yang, Community pharmacist

Mr Burnham should look at the Scottish road map for Pharmacy and go from there. Making Pharmacists responsible for case loads of patients and given greater and more specialised roles, that would be more within the realms of reality.

It's not so much about not having enough h/c professionals, but more about tackling wastage, uneven use of resources and unequal distribution of GPs, Pharmacists and Nurses. We have scenarios where small affluent towns and villages of, say, 4000 people have two GP surgeries and plentiful access to them, while poorer towns with three times the population make do with less. As for Pharmacy, the multiples have created pharmacies where one Pharmacist does the workload of two or three. That angry man who complained to me about waiting times and there being only one pharmacist? He's got every right to complain.

If Labour wants to win votes with the healthcare argument, it needs a clear plan on where the money will come from and how it will be spent. Fugazzi seems to be all too common in British politics these days.

Jennifer Richardson, Editorial

Dear readers,

I have deleted several comments from this article because they were in response to a previous comment that was deleted for a breach of the community principles - unfortunately, this meant that several of them were then in breach of the community principles themselves.

One user's registration with the site has been terminated following this activity.

I would like to remind readers of our community principles - available at http://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/community-principles - in particular that the comment facility is not pre-moderated and therefore, if you believe a comment/user is in breach of them, to please follow the notification procedure in order for us act accordingly.

Many thanks,
Jennifer Richardson
Editor, C+D

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Well done. But I think these trolls will find their way back with a different pseudonym. Hope not.

[email protected], Community pharmacist

Hopefully we won't see them again for a while at least. As I mentioned in another post. We are not anonymous here. The site will most likely have IP addresses associated with log in details and can block those.
It is of course possible to bypass these restrictions but for some it may be too awkward.

Hemant Patel, Community pharmacist

How sad Labour can only think of MURs! MURs are Mickey Mouse stuff and should be done by technicians. Medicines Mansgement and therapeutic monitoring should be done by pharmacists. Do you really need a pharmacist to teach inhaler technique? Do mental health patients not have any need that pharmacists can help with? Re-gurgitating instructions and not clinically reviewing meds is not supporting patients. REMEMBERS: MUR service is only about checking patient use of prescribed meds. Not a clinical review. Many pharmacists would not know what iatrogenic diseases is and how to prevent it. If they did 1:6 hospital pharmacy admission would have been cut out by now. So, Mr Milburn use your money wisely.

Mike Bereza, Community pharmacist

Politicians, saying what you want to hear since BC.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Andy Burnham is an experienced health secretary and at least he has engaged with pharmacy and in as much as politicians are self serving lets hope we get a definitive list of achieveable commissioning programmes nationally.

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Yet another politician with NO power making suggestions on a topic he knows little about - Please Mr Burnham - leave us alone to do our job and you do yours, which is to ensure we are paid a fair amount for keeping patients away from expensive GP appointments

[email protected], Community pharmacist

"Mr Burnham did not refer to the sector in his own conference speech", yet "Mr Burnham spoke to C+D the day before his speech".

So did he forget about pharmacy or did he not even care. Hmmm.

Well let's see what his party thinks.
"Mr Miliband vowed that his party would "transform" the NHS by deploying an extra 8,000 GPs, 20,000 nurses and 5,000 care workers" Eh, what no pharmacists mentioned.

But "Ed Miliband's promise to inject an extra £2.5 billion into the NHS was an "opportunity" for community pharmacy" according to Mr Burnham". That sure seems a lot of money.
Now for the science bit. Taking a GP salary of £100,000, a Nurses salary of £23,000 and a health care ~£13,900 (sav hourly rate of £6.69x40hr weekx52 week year). Figures pulled from a quick google.

This means wages alone will be around £1.3bn leaving approx £1.2bn for services that these 33,000 extra people will need to provide, in order to justify their salary. Oh and it won't just be them fighting for a piece of this small pie, it'll be every GP surgery and their nurses, current health care staff etc.

So an "opportunity" you say. Well it is strictly speaking an opportunity. But well let's be plain about this. Snowball's chance in hell.

MESUT OZIL,

*This comment has been deleted for breaching the community principles - C+D

MESUT OZIL,

*NHS struggling to balance its books, GPs leaving in droves, waiting times on the increase and my mate your mate Burnham promises Pharmacy a part of the pie. . Oh But yesterday a top civil servant stated the cuts will continue for another 5 years at least.

And we have milli stating all the solutions will vanish by injecting £2.5 billion, money which little milliband had already allocating elsewhere.

Shambles................

*This comment has been edited for a breach of the community principles - C+D

Gareth Rowe, Community pharmacist

'Last year, Mr Burnham attended a roundtable discussion with pharmacy representatives in which he challenged the sector to play a greater role in preventative care' they forgot to add 'for free!'.

As with everything else, they want us to be involved with anything that improves patient care, reduces GP time or saves the NHS money, all of which basically takes us away from dispensing, our core role. They just don't want to pay us for it.....

MESUT OZIL,

£2.5 BILLION is going to solve the problems of the NHS - NOT

There should be a national minor ailment scheme NOT a further increase in MURs. Most Murs are forged to keep line managers happy.

Pharmacist Khalid Ahmed, who attended the conference, said Burnham's speech had been a "waste of time" and he was considering cancelling his Labour party membership. Has it taken you this long to cancel your membership? LOL

Last year, Mr Burnham attended a roundtable discussion with pharmacy representatives in which he challenged the sector to play a greater role in preventative care.

This needs funding and greater cooperation between surgeries. Something that will not happen..

NHS IS BROKE - FACE FACTS - UK pays £50 billion in debt repayments anually.

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